Electrochemotherapy in advanced skin tumors and cutaneous metastases - a retrospective multicenter analysis

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2015 Apr;13(4):308-15. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12583.


Background and objectives: Once classic treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy have been exhausted, only few therapeutic options remain for extensive skin tumors or cutaneous metastases. In such cases, electrochemotherapy may be considered as alternative therapy.

Patients and methods: In this retrospective study, clinical features, treatment response, and adverse effects were evaluated in 56 patients treated with electrochemotherapy at six German dermatology departments.

Results: The mean age of the patient cohort (14 men, 42 women) was 69.3 years. Included were 20 patients with skin metastasis of advanced malignant melanoma, 13 patients with breast cancer metastases, 15 patients with primary squamous cell carcinoma of the skin or cutaneous metastases of other carcinoma types, and 8 patients with cutaneous lymphoma or sarcoma. The overall response rate was 44.6% (10.7% complete response; 33.9% partial response). By contrast, 31 (55.4%) patients did not respond (12.5% had stable disease; 42.9%, tumor progression). Patients with melanoma and cutaneous lymphoma or sarcoma responded significantly better than those with carcinoma. Roughly one quarter of patients showed an improvement in tumor-related exudation, fetor, and chronic bleeding.

Conclusion: Showing only few adverse effects, electrochemotherapy was effective in about one half of the patients with advanced tumors. Treatment response appears to depend on the tumor entity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Electrochemotherapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents